Shining: How to believe in your own success

Photo credit: Dad 🙂
Quite a few years back I had one of those quasi-mystical experiences that shakes you up and refocuses your life. I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, yet the moment of realization is as clear now as it was then.
It’s a bit scary to share this, but here goes. I realized that I wanted to be a star.
Not a rock star or movie star, but a star in the sky. I wanted to shine.
A few years later I came across a photo I’ve shared here before. It’s of five-year-old me on the beach at Santa Monica. For me, it captures the essence of shining. I keep it on my desk to remind me of who I am and what I’m here to do.
This is about you
So far it probably sounds like this is about me, but it’s not. It’s about you and who you really are. And it’s about you succeeding as a human being and a person who’s self-employed.
Because the secret to success isn’t what you do. It’s living what lights you up. When you are alight with with enthusiasm, self-trust, and joy, it is easy to see and take the steps you need to take to succeed.
Of course, shining isn’t always easy
Even if you believe that, at bottom, everything is perfect, you know that shining isn’t always easy. Weeks and months can go by when you forget that you are a star. And somehow I have to think that’s okay.
It’s okay because the human journey is about teaching each other to shine. Every time you forget and remember who you are, you learn a bit more about embodying the light. And what you learn infuses your work, your relationships, and your choices with meaning. It makes your work unique, and it makes you an ever brighter star.
Earth to Molly
My work is not just to talk pretty. It’s to be a translator. To learn how to succeed at business and re-imagine it in authentic and creative ways. If I don’t translate shining in a practical way, something you can take action on, I haven’t done my job.
So here’s what I want you to do
This week I want you to put yourself out in the world in a bolder, brighter way. That doesn’t mean being noisier. It means doing one of those things you know you ought to be doing to market or sell–and doing it as if you are a being of light.
Here’s what that means.
Let’s say you’ve been putting off starting a blog. Go to or and open a free account. Go with the easiest set up you can find.
Then ask yourself what you know and how you know it. If you are a bodyworker, deeply connect with what you know about your work. Reflect on how you know this; not just what you learned in training, but what you’ve learned from experience.
If you’re a graphic designer, think about something that drives you crazy about do-it-yourself design. Something that you know could be remedied with the guidance of a professional. Then give that guidance.
Whoever you are and whatever your field, imagine sharing your knowledge generously. Then write it down.
That’s practice in shining.
It’s not about blogging
You can practice shining when you tell people what you do. (Start by doing this in your imagination, and it will get much easier to do it in person.)
You can practice shining in your emails. (When you answer an email, try starting with a thank you.)
Wherever you’ve been struggling to follow through with self-promotion, that’s where you can practice shining.
Don’t wait until you know how
All you need to practice shining is the merest inkling of what I’m talking about. You know times when you have simply shone. You know what that feels like in your body and looks like on your face (at least from the inside).
Practice that. Bring that to the steps and tools of marketing and sales. And let me know how it’s going here, in the comments.


  1. Dahna Willis

    Molly –
    Thank you for so generously (and authentically) sharing and shining…your light is very bright, indeed:)
    Peace and Gratitude…

  2. Barb

    Hi Molly, Thanks for sharing and the beautiful picture of shining…. it’s precious and a beautiful reminder. Think I’ll look for a picture of me shining. Blessings.

  3. Char Brooks

    Hi Molly:
    Your post touched my heart today. That picture of you is simply priceless.
    Today is a writing day for me – thank you for the inspiration to shine and for the confidence to realize that innately I know exactly how to do this.

  4. Cheryl McCardle

    Your message really spoke to me today. I recently “heard” that same message while I was doing my Yoga practice. It’s such a confirmation for me to move forward.
    I have always dreamed of being a great artist and creativity teacher. I feel that I want to go out and teach everyone the joys of being a creative person, and that it is part of our nature. So many of us have something important to say and being creative can help us do that.
    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. It gives me the courage to go after those things that I want and stop blocking myself with negative thoughts.

  5. Jude

    What a fabulous post Molly.
    I particularly like your perspective on “To learn how to succeed at business and re-imagine it in authentic and creative ways.”
    I know what it feels like for me to shine and your post is a reminder to shine in every moment. After running my business part-time for a few years, I’m just launching into it full-time. There are so many things to do and navigate that it can become a list of things to do and I can easily forget to shine whilst doing them!
    So thanks for the reminder. I’m off now to shine for the rest of the day.

  6. Rebecca

    Wow! What great timing. This morning and all day tomorrow (my birthday), I’m focusing on putting new possibilities into place to shine.
    By the way, your current photo also shines.

  7. Sylvina Rollins

    Good Morning Molly,
    Thank-you for the shining sharing.
    “Living what lights you up, enthusiasm, self trust, joy.”
    I love your shinning picture.
    I immediately thought of a photo of me with my Aunt Pooh and my Brother when I was a baby bordering on toddler, beaming in her arms.
    I know just where it is, thinking of it I feel happy for sure!
    I want to hold the image in my mind and heart this weekend during my art openning. I used to become very nervous at my opennings.
    I intend to shine instead, I have come to enjoy them.
    All the Best! Thank-you again. Sylvina

  8. Stede Barber

    Hi Molly,
    I love this post, thank you for courageously sharing! Shifting from what I “should” do to be successful, to sharing my loving and light through what I’m learning and care about opens the door for me. You have a wonderful way of translating the “shoulds” into a deeper level that has real meaning. Again, Thank you!

  9. Molly Gordon

    I’m so touched by all your comments. Sounds like a lot of people have photos of that child inside who didn’t know how not to shine. I keep mine on my desk. Please get yours out and keep it where it can remind you who you really are.
    Yesterday my brain trust buddy, @EricKlein, shared something his teacher told him long ago when he was feeling inadequate to his mission of teaching: “Don’t let your ego get in the way of being helpful.”
    Shining is not something we do from our egocentric selves. It’s something we are. It’s something to humbly allow, not to strive for. And that’s my fondest wish for all.

  10. Shayna

    Thank you so much for everything, Molly … continually you inspire me to keep moving forward … truly you DO shine! I so love this post today, again, thank you.

  11. Eric

    This post is starlight. Pure radiance in the form of Molly-words. The wonderful thing about shining is that it’s not blinding. Your shining illuminates what’s been shadowed in me. Thank your for shining. My soul is lighter, for it.

  12. Judy Dunn

    Hi Molly.
    Later arriver to your blog. (What took me so long?) Now getting it in my RSS feed.
    Even though I’ve never met you in person, I can so see you in this picture. Reconnecting with your child’s self is the best way, in my opinion, to get back to who you really are and what you really want in life.
    For you, it was “shining.” What a noble and wondrous goal.
    I have an old grainy photo of me at 5, staring into the camera, biting my finger and frowning, in my Annie Oakley cowgirl suit, hat and gun and all. Yes, I wanted to be a cowgirl. To solve crimes. Get the bad guys. It was that sharp sense of justice I felt at such a young age.
    Been thinking about that lately. As a writer, I think I have always wanted to be a voice for the disenfranchised, those without a voice. Not sure that is happening right now, but it’s a place I want to be.
    Thanks for making me think with this eloquent post.

  13. Heidi Rugg

    Thank you so much for going out on a limb and sharing this. An inspiration post — and just what I needed to hear!
    It’s so easy to get bogged down by the day to day and the world-view as presented by the media. It is much harder to stay in the moment and be true to yourself…thanks for the reminder that we are all called to shine bright and cut through the darkness.

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